Arts and culture

Two words you should not hear from your kids this weekend: I'm bored.

Saturday, Sept. 29, is Smithsonian magazine's annual Museum Day Live, when more than 1,400 attractions nationwide wil offer free admission. Just go to to print a ticket good for two people.

Participating local venues include:

If you traveled by way of Florida's Route 1 in the '60s and '70s, you might have encountered young African-American landscape artists selling oil paintings of an idealized, candy-colored, Kennedy-era Florida. They painted palms, beaches, poinciana trees and sleepy inlets on drywall canvases — and they came to be known as the Highwaymen. The group made thousands of pictures, until the market was saturated, tastes changed, and the whole genre dwindled.

Roadside Innovation

Tampa Bay Fashion Week Nurtures Local Talent

Sep 20, 2012
Dalia Colon / WUSF

Twenty-two-year-old Simone Fratus is sitting in a computer lab at the Art Institute of Tampa, doing homework with a friend.

"Right now, I have on knee-length riding boots with studs on them and an oversized shirt and leggings and tons of accessories -- everything that I could just kind of throw on together. Three necklaces, a whole wrist full of bracelets. So I guess today I felt 'downtown girl,'" Fratus says with a laugh.

The past 24 hours have produced a few answers — but many more questions — about the anti-Islam film that became a flashpoint across North Africa and the Middle East this week.

NPR's Carrie Kahn reports on Morning Edition that The Innocence of Muslims was shot in Los Angeles County last August, under the title Desert Warriors. It's full of "choppy dialogue, bad acting and scenes of a buffoonish Muhammad," she says.

Rev. Terry Jones has a knack for getting publicity, so it is no surprise he’s inserted himself into the latest controversy involving Islam.

The surprise for Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute is how the media lets Jones get away with it.

"The media apparently are biting on this without asking some critical questions,” she said.

“Specifically, how did Terry Jones have anything to do with the violence? And the answer is, he didn’t!”

Most Americans knew nothing about Innocence of Muslims. That's the film that has set the Muslim world on fire, causing protests in Egypt and Libya that led to the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

primemover88 / Flickr

Fewer out-of-state residents are applying for Florida driver's licenses, and it's not because they've donated their car to their favorite public radio station. Population experts say Northerns are no longer flocking to the Sunshine State the way they used to, according to this report from the Associated Press.

Remembering 9/11

Sep 11, 2012

It was a day that started out like any other here in the Tampa Bay Area. 

President Bush was on a two-day swing through the state promoting education reform. 

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were scheduled to host the Boston Red Sox that night at Tropicana Field.  That game would never be played.

Bobbie O'Brien

Elephants are iconic Republican and they’re also the closest living relative to the Florida manatee according to the Florida Wildlife website.

So, it seemed only natural that the animal kingdom duo be the focus of our RNC art coverage.

First, the “Elephants Herd About Tampa Bay” art project. It gave 29 artists a chance to adorn, embellish and festoon fiberglass, elephant sculptures.

Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Tampa International Airport officials faced a major challenge Saturday--not a huge number of people leaving town after the Republican National Convention, but fans of the boy band One Direction.

Steve Newborn / WUSF

I was in search of a good protester or two - which, after the first two days of the Republican National Convention, became rather hard to find in downtown Tampa. So I went to Cafe Hey, a coffee shop in the shadow of Interstate 275 that had become a de-facto hangout for the radical set. There, I came across Heather Merlis and Justin West, who was strumming a guitar on the sidewalk outside the cafe.

In Defense Of Tampa

Aug 31, 2012

It's been a rough week for my adopted hometown.

First, it looked like our worst nightmare would come true: a direct hit from Hurricane Isaac with tens of thousands of visitors in town for the Republican National Convention.

We were spared the worst of Isaac — but then came a raft of snarky stories about Tampa.

What Do Protesters Do After Dark?

Aug 30, 2012
Eric Mennel / WUSF News

After a long day of marching and chanting, most protesters in the tent camp known as Romneyville are trying to get some sleep.

"We have the constant helicopter overhead to give us the soothing white noise to sleep to," said one activist who asked not to be named.

He had just climbed down from the billboard behind the camp, where he hung a banner to overlook the nearby interstate entrance. The banner is a white bed sheet with water bottles tied to the bottom to weigh it down.

It read "GOP 1% GO HOME."

It's What's For Dinner - or Lunch

Aug 29, 2012

Wet and rainy one day. Sunny and balmy  the next. Usually hot and always humid.

Welcome to Florida, RNC visitors!

Now that the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac is over for us and the Republican National Convention is underway, we can get back to helping you discover more about the Tampa Bay area other than its unpredictable weather.

Carmel Delshad / WUSF

Warren Colazzo is in the business of beautiful people.  As the co-owner of Thee Dollhouse gentlemen's club in Tampa, Colazzo is expecting some major business during the RNC.

"If they're going to compare this to three or four super bowls, I just think people better be ready. It'll be very very busy."

As the Republican convention gets under way in Tampa tomorrow, we can expect to hear more about the personal life of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Storms, Strippers and Stereotypes

Aug 27, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac may be making headlines after delaying the start of the RNC -- but the media blitz in Tampa shows no sign of stopping.

Reporters from The Washington Post posed an interesting question:

Why pick a state in Hurricane Alley in peak hurricane season for an all-important nominating convention where visuals are everything?

While the real Sarah Palin wasn't invited to speak at the Republican National Convention, someone who looks like her is speaking out in Tampa.

Adult entertainer, Lisa Ann, who starred in the 2008 film satirizing former republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, performed at Thee Dollhouse in Tampa.

During a press conference held at the club she discussed Palin, politics, and business with a room full of reporters.

Scott Finn / WUSF

Frankly, I expected more.

Here are the entire contents of the "Busch Gardens" bag given to the media today:

- "No Apologies" by Mitt Romney

- Battery-powered mini-fan from

- Sunglasses from

- Suncreen from (guess who?)

- A magazine I had not heard of called "Baypop" with glossy models sporting Young Republican gear

- Two brochures from the University of Tampa (what, no University of South Florida?)

- The official media guide and regular guide to the convention

Metal Chris / Flickr

With thousands of out-of-town reporters expected this week, it’s inevitable Tampa gets reduced to a series of exotic stereotypes.

There’s the strippers.

And that Tampa is an anti-urbanism dystopia run by paranoid conservatives.